Anxious? Why Many People Are Turning to Baking

As our reported anxiety levels have spiked, so has our collective interest in baking. Here’s why so many people are unplugging from stress by turning on the oven.

Anxiety levels are spiking nationwide. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 40 percent of Americans report feeling more anxious in 2018 than they did the previous year. Interestingly, self-reported anxiety had already increased between 2016 and 2017 by 36 percent. With every new year, there seems to be a surge in anxiety—and that’s just not healthy.

Interestingly, there has been a sudden spike in something else: our love of baking. Between the rise of artisan sourdough bread-making and the insane popularity of baking television shows, we’re clearly a bit obsessed. It would seem that we are trying to unplug from our stresses and anxieties by turning on the oven.

Anxious? Why Many People Are Turning to Baking

But why baking?

In the past decades, there was a very obvious shift away from tasks that involved working with our hands—baking, gardening, woodworking—as we became more reliant on and enamored with technology. But now technology is inescapable.

As we begin to live our lives more and more virtually, simple human tasks like baking are having a resurgence. They’re like breaths of fresh, unfiltered mountain air. In baking especially, there is this profound peace and satisfaction that comes with working with your hands. There’s always a clear beginning, a middle and an end. And the final product is tangible, delicious and delivers joy to yourself and loved ones.

What’s not to love?

Woman cutting butter into apple pie

In fact, baking can be incredibly grounding. While everything else in our fast-paced world feels rushed, you can’t hurry a rising sourdough or a setting pie. You must simply wait. And when you’re baking a cake or making cookies, you must remain fully in the present—not overthinking or multitasking. It is like forced mindfulness.

Actually, it really is. Philip Muskin, a Columbia University psychiatry professor and the secretary of the American Psychiatry Association, told The Atlantic, “Baking is mindful. Mindfulness means paying attention to yourself in the moment and not being in the past or the future, but really being there.”

According to Muskin, the practice of baking from scratch can actually have a similar emotionally grounding effect to meditation and breathing exercises. It’s the perfect solution when you don’t have much money, work long hours during the week and think mediation is a little too woo-woo. You slow down and bake.

And the benefits don’t seem to stop with baking. More and more people are turning to baking shows like The Great British Bake-Off  and Nailed It! to ease the stress and anxiety of their days—and it seems to help (although I’d imagine it’s not quite the same as the real thing).

So don’t feel guilty about wanting to make a homemade batch of warm, gooey cookies after a long day or wanting to watch an hour or two of cheery Brits baking cakes. Indulge, and crush your anxiety. You deserve it.

Do you enjoy baking or baking shows? Do you find comfort in making beautiful and tasty treats? Share your experience with the Care2 community below…      

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Images via Getty

76 comments

Michael F
Michael F11 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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salah z
salah zoubiri13 days ago

Relaxing

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salah z
salah zoubiri13 days ago

That would be me

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

lovely smell of baking

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

th

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Lesa D
Lesa D2 months ago

thank you Jordyn...

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Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

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Ricky T
Ricky T2 months ago

I have diagnosed anxiety...and I've always loved baking, specifically fruit crumbles.

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Shirley P
Shirley Plowman2 months ago

I REALLY LIKED THIS, TAKES ONE BACK TO EARLIER TIMES.

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